The Admiral / Адмиралъ

Published: October 19, 2016

The Admiral (Адмиралъ) is a 2008 biopic by Russian director Andrey Kravchuk (Андрей Кравчук). The film deals with the life of Aleksandr Kolchak, vice-admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy and a leader of the anticommunist White Movement during the Russian Civil War. A major aspect of the film is also the love triangle among Kolchak, his wife, and the poet Anna Timiryova (Анна Тимирёва).

The Admiral takes place during the period of 1916 to 1920, during the fall of the Russian Empire, the February and October Revolutions, and the Russian Civil War. The film begins with a flashback to the Baltic Sea in 1914, when Kolchak (Konstantin Khabenskiy/Константин Хабенский), then a captain, is laying naval mines in German waters. After a narrow escape from an altercation with a German armored ship, Kolchak is promoted to rear admiral. Later, he is introduced to Anna Timiryova (Yelizaveta Boyarskaya/Елизавета Боярская), the wife of a subordinate officer, and their mutual attraction is evident from the beginning. Kolchak’s wife, Sofia (Anna Kovalchuk/Анна Ковалчук), offers to let her husband be with Timiryova, but Kolchak chooses to keep his vows. His feelings for Timiryova continue to grow, however. After the February Revolution of 1917, Kolchak and his wife narrowly escape summary execution at Kronstadt. He is summoned soon thereafter to Petrograd and offered the position of minister of defense by Aleksandr Kerensky (Viktor Verzhbitskiy/Виктор Вержбитский), which he refuses. As a result, Kolchak is exiled to the United States. However, we learn that after the October Revolution the admiral returned to Russia and is now leading a detachment of the White Army in Omsk. Anna Timiryova, whose husband is now a Red commissar, is moved by the news and promptly leaves her husband to seek out Kolchak. Anna soon becomes a nurse for those injured in the Civil War, unbeknownst to Kolchak. Eventually Kolchak learns of Anna’s presence and reunites with her. He asks Anna to marry him, and writes his wife, now living in exile in Paris, demanding a divorce. Meanwhile, the fighting has moved to Irkutsk and the situation for the Whites is dire. French General Maurice Janin agrees to hand over Kolchak in exchange for his life and those of his troops. When Kolchak is arrested, Anna insists that she be arrested alongside him. Kolchak is executed by firing squad and dumped in the Angar River.

The film was criticized for a number of historical inaccuracies, and it encountered controversy in Russia, where Kolchak had been portrayed as a villain during the Soviet period. However, in the United States it saw a lot of success, not least for its elaborate costume designs and orchestral score.

Find The Admiral on Amazon

Director: Andrey Kravchuk (Андрей Кравчук)
Stars: Konstantin Khabenskiy (Константин Хабенский), Yelizaveta Boyarskaya (Елизавета Боярская), Anna Kovalchuk (Анна Ковалчук), Viktor Verzhbitskiy (Виктор Вержбитский)
Production company: Dago Productions
Box office take: $78,287,970


Official trailer:




Find The Admiral on Amazon

About the author

Zachary Hicks

Zach Hicks is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is currently participating in SRAS's Home and Abroad scholarship program. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature, socialist modernism, and critical theory. Outside of academics his major interests are martial arts, the outdoors, and music. In Russia, he plans to continue to increase his language proficiency, to learn as much as possible about the Russian underground music scene, its tattoo culture, and to become a student of Russia’s native martial art, SAMBO.

Program attended: Art and Museums in Russia

View all posts by: Zachary Hicks